Create your own Tour de Long Island on the recently completed Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway.
There’s scenery, historic sites and eateries galore along the new 13.7-mile bike path from Captree State Park in Bay Shore to Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh. Fitness riders, family groups and solo cyclists are already riding the multi-use path and enjoying its rest stops, says Joseph De Palma, 65, of East Setauket, president of the 2,000 member Nassau-Suffolk Bicycle Coalition.
"You can do a group ride and make a lunch date out of it," says De Palma, who has biked the path several times. Or, De Palma adds, "you can make a family fun trip while staying on Long Island." Breathtaking beaches (including a legendary surfing mecca), concerts, ziplining and strolling by the sea can enrich or cap your day spinning in the sunshine.
If you go, be mindful that the greenway is a multi-use path shared with pedestrians, runners and skaters. Safety features include curves to slow traffic at green-painted crosswalks, and a reflective cable guiderail. Signs offer area history and directions to public facilities.
Here are five amenity-filled rest stops open to cyclists, with mileage so you can plan your day.
Bicyclists are flocking to Captree where the greenway begins. The state park is known for its restaurants, piers, a bait-and-tackle shop and day trips aboard the Captree Fleet fishing fleet.
On a sunny afternoon, Christopher DeFalco, 23, of Rockville Centre, is taking a quick break at Tiki Joe’s Beach Club, an outdoor restaurant next to the Captree Boat Basin, before getting back on his bike.
"I’ll have the wind at my back," DeFalco says before pedaling to the west parking lot for the trip to his car parked Jones Beach Field 6.
Bicyclists who arrive by car at Captree can park next to the greenway entrance in the west lot ($8 fee). The freshly paved and painted trailhead is equipped with a self-service station with an air pump and tools.
Dismount at the crosswalk, pedal up a slight hill, and you’re on your way -- surrounded by beach greenery and wildflowers – the latter planted to attract monarch butterflies.
The first stop en route to Jones Beach is Cedar Beach Marina, a Town of Babylon summer playground with boat slips and sites for self-contained camping vehicles.
Bicyclists are welcome to fish from the pier, eat at picnic tables and freshen up at the comfort station, says Dan Schaefer, town deputy communications director.
Take the underpass at the end of a line of campsites to Cedar Beach and the Salt Shack Seaside Grill, a popular place for munching beach eats (wraps, chicken fingers, fish tacos and more) with an ocean view.
Daily concerts will have you singing as you ride.
KEEP RIDING! STOP 2
At this historic Town of Babylon park, you can ride the waves as well as your bike.
Rent boogie boards, surf boards, umbrellas and chairs at an outpost of Babylon’s Bunger Surf Shop, which also sells Gilgo t-shirts and other souvenirs. (Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
If you call a few days ahead of your trip, Bunger will arrange a surfing lesson (631-661-1526, $70/hour). The underpass to the famous surfing beach lies just south of another landmark, The Gilgo Beach Inn.
Adjacent to a marina, the 86-year-old inn is a full-service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, snacks and coffee – and stronger drink at the bar where framed pictures tell the inn’s history, including the time it was temporarily swept out to sea by the hurricane of 1938.
"We’ve got a rum punch that people rave about," says owner Paul McDuffie.
GETTING TIRED? STOP 3
Stop at Tobay Beach. Quench your hunger and thirst at the Surf Shack Flip Flop Coastal Kitchen, which recently opened a tiki bar (516-468-6874, surfshackny.com) or the Boatyard’s taco, pizza, salad and raw bar stations. (516-324-8474, theboatyardny.com/seaside-eats).
YOU MADE IT! END
Congratulations – you’ve traversed the greenway – or reached the halfway mark if you’re on a round trip.
Lock up at the East Bath House (underpass on the left) to reward yourself with a stroll on the beach. Enjoy some summer pleasures at the two-mile boardwalk’s food concessions, play miniature golf, visit the Northwell Health Theater or zipline at WildPlay Adventure Park.
If you'd prefer too keep on cyclin' head over to Zach’s Bay where the greenway connects with the Ellen Farrant Memorial Bikeway/Jones Beach Bikeway, which runs alongside Wantagh Parkway to Cedar Creek Park in Seaford.